News / USA

    Effort Under Way to Expand US Parks, Playgrounds

    Volunteers, Organizations Expand Parks and Playgroundsi
    X
    June 14, 2013 11:56 AM
    Public parks are important to urban life, but green spaces and play areas are rare in many cities. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles that many organizations and volunteers are trying to change that.
    Public parks are important to urban life, but green spaces and play areas are rare in many cities.  Many organizations and volunteers are trying to change that.

    At the Environmental Charter Middle School in the Los Angeles community of Gardena, several hundred volunteers are building a play area, sanding down benches, putting up swings and slides, and adding a touch of green with shrubs and bushes.

    “Everyone needs a place to play, no matter how old they are,” noted parent Jennifer Briseno.

    Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.
    x
    Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.
    Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.
    Play lets the kids engage the world, which they can't always do in the classroom, added school principal Kami Cotler.

    “They don't have those opportunities to play with sticks in the mud, and to learn the really powerful lessons you learn when you get to do that,” she explained.

    The newly renovated Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has also brought some of its exhibits outdoors.  Kids learn about insects, birds and reptiles in their natural environment, partly on the site of  a former parking lot.  It's part of a new focus, according to landscape architect Mia Lehrer.

    “You can enjoy the gardens, but also learn something, if you are inspired to,” she said.

    Los Angeles ranks far behind such cities as Minneapolis, New York and San Francisco in its public park space, according to a survey by the non-profit Trust for Public Land.   The Trust's Jodi Delaney said outdoor spaces are important, especially for children.

    “Many of them spend one percent of their time in parks," she said. "And 27 percent of their time watching television.”

    Delaney said parks are also important for adults.  They are places to relax, exercise and get in touch with nature.

    She said Los Angeles ranked 34th in the national survey of cities and their parks.  The survey ranked 50 cities by factors such as level of investment, the size of parks and access to parks in all neighborhoods.

    “Where we could do better is a little bit on access,  And the Trust for Public Land is actually working shoulder to shoulder with city and county officials to improve that,” added Delaney.

    A charity called KaBOOM! is behind the school playground enhancements in the city of Gardena.  The charity has built hundreds of playgrounds around the United States.   
    Getting the community involved is making a difference, said Vaughn Sigmon of CarMax, a seller of used cars.  He brought 170 volunteers from his company.  He said parks and outdoor spaces are important for children, and his company and its workers have pledged to build a total of 30 playgrounds.

    “It's the best place to get fresh air, get some exercise,” he stated.

    The school in Gardena now has a playground, adding to the outdoor green and play spaces that are so needed in Los Angeles.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.